It is a change I already made quite some time ago - somewhere in May - but here is the official announcement: The last of the commercial Yireo extensions - Yireo_EmailTester2 - is now available for free. Here is how and why.
The Yireo EmailTester 2 extension
If you were not using this module already, you have been missing out: Most developers out there consider the finetuning of transactional emails (the look & feel, the communication) a cumbersome task, especially because the preview functionality by default is kind of broken. The Yireo_EmailTester2 module fixes this, with both a preview option and a send button (to send it to any inbox of your liking). On top of this, the module adds in all kinds of dummy data: It lets you pick a product, customer and order, but additionally generates variables - so that the content of the transactional emails actually makes sense.
The extension was first introduced for Magento 1 and later on, rewritten for Magento 2. And while the pricing has been kind of average (ranging between 35 Euro and 180 Euro or so, which is actually considered offensively low by some), I've been making a nice income out of it. No longer: The sources are now on GitHub and all future releases will be available for free.
Beginning of the end?
It just occurred to me: Maybe this move is going to make somebody wonder whether this is the end. Maybe this is a sign of Yireo (thus me) letting go of extension development or maybe even Magento all together? Well, that's not the case.
To the contrary, I'm already seeing more traction with the formerly-paid extensions that make me enthousiastic again on contributing myself to the modules. Open source in this case is more about the fun than about the money.
My reasons to let go of commercial extensions
The reason behind making EmailTester a free extesion is a monetary thing though. Since Magento 1, I've been creating modules. Back in the days, I was also maintaining a bridge between Joomla and Magento 1 (MageBridge), which earned me an income for years (and constant headaches). With Magento 2, Joomla was dropped, MageBridge was dropped and slowly but surely, Magento 1 was dropped. And along the lines, I discovered that I had far less revenue with Magento 2 than before. I don't complain here: I went to earn money with training instead, which I actually like more. But still, the commercial extensions were on a decline.
There was another more important issue though: The shop that I used to sell Magento extensions with was based on Magento 1. And you might know about Magento 1 being end-of-life (hint). I've been postponing a migration for years - the data migration was troublesome because of various custom things in the database, it originated from Magento 1.4 or so. I also didn't know what to do with it: Migrate it to Magento 2, to Shopware 6, to a headless Magento, or just OpenMage or MageOne.
With the simple move of letting go of the revenue model of these extensions, by simply releasing them for free, I've removed the requirement of keeping this Magento 1 shop alive. I literally brought down the shop the next day, after I made this decision. Smartest move ever, just move around the problem long enough so that it disappears automatically.
Open for contributions
That being said, let's not focus only upon the monetary nature of free vs commercial extensions. The release of the EmailTester extension opens up for another nice opportunity: Collaboration on its source code. While I received fixes when the extension was open-source-but-commercial, I'm hoping for more now. All of those developers out there, who were not willing to invest money earlier, even though the module could have saved them hours, are now happy to try out the EmailTester and help the module become even more useful. It is open for contribution! Jagshemash!